Yoga for better sleep
Sleep is such a blessing. So many people are increasingly challenged by sleeplessness. I was motivated to help others with their sleep, as i suffered for years from insomnia, without having any real idea about how to work with it. My experience with medication was of little use. A more holistic approach was needed. Now, thankfully, apart from the odd day my sleep is relatively normal. So I offer help not only from the training i have received, but also from my own experience.
Although the reasons for insomnia are unique for everyone, it is most often the case that there is a root cause. There are sometimes medical reasons, but most often life has thrown up something that has resulted in an inbalance that shows up in the discomfort of irregular sleep. It is important to acknowledge that something is causing the stress that results in lack of nourishing sleep.. This is a first step towards healing.
Engaging with this healing process is about developing the skills yourself to invite better sleep. For sleep to be sustainably restored it is essential that the sleep deprived person takes on responsibility for creating a change themselves. My job is to work with you so these skills can be developed. Restoring sleep is very rarely about applying a quick fix and then carrying on living exactly as before. Since many of the causes of sleeplessness derive from the quality of life, this is a valuable journey in itself.
There are two main approaches to work with insomnia. The first is to map lifestyle as it effects sleep and the sleep patterns themselves. There needs to be an approach which is tailored to each individual. Together we develop strategies which work for you. We look at the night time experience itself and suggest different ways of approaching it. We also look at the general pattern of the day, including our environment, our nutrition and our exercise. The insomniac needs to be prepared to make changes that can be tried out to assist the sleep pattern. Much of this work is based on the findings of sleep science and how it can help us.
The second approach is embodied. I pass on methods I have learnt, some of which based on yoga techniques, which are particularly good at introducing calm into the nervous system. We work out how these can be incorporated into a daily structure to help the sleep process. Sleeplessness happens mostly because the body is too activated. It is simply too wired to settle well or for long. The cycle of anxiety that develops when we anticipate being sleepless and its consequences, only adds to the problem. The main work of sleep management is to be sooth the nervous system to bring deep release to the body, and this is what some forms of restorative yoga are very good at. This is introduced in a safe way accessible to anyone. People who are lacking movement practice may also be encouraged to try out some form of movement. We get a good example from animals who move their bodies to dissipate stress.
This work is by its nature one to one. The issues are too individual to work with in a group environment. It is suggested that anyone wishing help tries out an initial session to see if the approach appeals to them. This is 90 minutes long followed by another five sessions of 60 minutes. This is usually sufficient to start initiating real change, and follow-up sessions can be arranged where necessary.
"I would highly recommend Derek. He helped me change my perspective to sleep which was blocking my ability to relax and switch off. I learnt I have an overactive nervous system which was not allowing me to go to sleep and once asleep, resulted in disrupted sleep throughout the night. Techniques using restorative yoga positions and mediation allowed me to find ways to relax and slow down. The sleep diary helped me to see the progress I was making over the six sessions. Derek was very supportive and it was great to have a space to talk through events which were also impacting on my inability to switch off. I learnt a lot and cannot thank Derek enough for his time and patience."